Regarding the Ravnsborg incident near Highmore — and court reports that followed — I recall my own two vehicle-deer mishaps during the past 25 years. When one’s eyes are on the road ahead, the driver can easily identify potential collision objects. In the Highmore tragedy, the victim was walking on the side of the road. He was carrying a flashlight. Mr. Ravnsborg’s eyes must have been averted from the road for many, many seconds while apparently fiddling with his phone. I’m surprised the forensic reviewers didn’t call this “reckless.”
When the collision occurred, Ravnsborg would have both felt and heard it. In that fraction of a second, he would have gotten a visual on the shape of the object being flung upward and away. In that fraction of a second, his brain would have registered it as a man and not a deer. I’ve had two separate collisions with deer and got a clear visual of each as they went airborne. The brain needs only a fraction of a second to make identification.
Ravnsborg recounted in his 911 call (later repeated) that “he didn’t know what he hit — perhaps it was a deer.” Baloney! He knew it was a man. Ravnsborg’s story implies he was simply a passenger on an unguided missile. Ravnsborg should have insisted Hyde County Sheriff bring sufficient flashlights so they could locate the body for possible rescue. Also, Ravnsborg should have immediately submitted his resignation or leave of absence, thus allowing normal SD Highway Patrol and SD forensic investigative procedures be initiated. Instead, he lassoed many state and county officials into shared culpability for a string of questionable decisions, actions and conclusions.
Given his plea deal, Ravsborg’s outlandish contentions can never be properly tested against science and common sense. It’s a sad day for justice in South Dakota.